Saturday, November 11, 2006

Top Chef - Episode 3 The Exorcism of Emily

This episode was so weird. Quiet, depressed Emily turns into the second coming of Tiffani. Let the games continue. We open with the very loud snoring of Frank. I'm told by many people unfortunate to room with me, that I also snore like a chainsaw. Glowering Sam is particularly annoyed with Frank's snoring. We then segue to Marcel going on and on about molecular gastronomy. Yeah, whatev. Betty, who is winning me over, says that while others may have more training, she, Mia, and Mike have the advantage in comfort food. Mike proclaims that his strategy is to stay in the middle of the pack so as not to make people think he's a threat. NOONE will ever think that you're a threat Mike, but thanks for playing. He does make an allusion to the previous season's tomfoolery and sabotage, TIFFANI.

In the quickfire, SRTW talks about how most people DO NOT eat in fine dining establishments. And I'd like to point out that those of us who do appreciate fine dining can also have an Olive Garden craving like you wouldn't beleive. And I am not talking about myself. So the quickfire challenge is to create an original ice cream flavor. Marisa feels confident since dessert should be her speciality. HAH! Cliff is not happy as he hasn't made ice cream before. The chefs will be taking their ice cream to Redondo Beach where the man, woman, and child on the street will do the judging. Ok. F1. Many people are befuddled. Carlos sensibly realizes that making a typical custard ice cream that requires heating on the stove and cooling down would be time consuming. He smartly decides to forgo eggs and use avocados to acheive a cramy consistency. Emily goes for a trendy chocolate lavender flavor. While Sam says he's a diabetic and avoids desserts. Cliff goes with a cookie flavored ice cream. Ilan goes for a bacon (huh?) and waffle flavored ice cream because he likes breakfast flavors. There had better be a lot of maple syrup on that because bacon in ice cream? Marcel decides to completely turn my stomach and make a bacon and avocado ice cream. I DARE him to finish a pint of that crap. SRTW anounces that they only have five minutes left and she is wearing the most ridiculous short shorts I have seen in my life. She should be doing pilates, not hosting a reality show in that getup.

At Redondo Beach, it's a hot day and many children abound. Emily makes me hate her by saying "I was hoping the demographics would not be a bunch of snotty little kids. I hate kids." You must have been a blast on the playground Emily. Aaaaad we're off. Betty is a spaz. Cliff's marshamallow cookie stuff is a hit. Surprisingly, Ilan's waffles and bacon is sucessful. Carlos again shows he's a smart cookie by letting the parents know about the avocado, but hiding that fact from the kids. He's twelve kinds of awesome. Sam uses his sexiness to score points with the moms. I'll take his word for it. Ilan is so much cuter. Emily somehow thinks he looks like Ashton Kutcher. Whuh? Marcel is crashing and burning with his flavor. Kids are literally wiping their tongues to get the nasty bacon avocado flavor off. Adults are gagging. Josie gets a suspicious look from an older black lady as she tries to joke that she knows that the older black lady is all about cobbler. Emily proves herself to be completely hateful when one lady tells her there's not enough sugar in her ice cream. Emily shows off her charm by responding that "the last thing you need with your four teeth and huge ass is sugar." My response would be that the last career you and your jaundiced face need is in the kitchen. I could spend the rest of the recap bitching about that statement alone. MOOOOOVING on.

In the Kenmore kitchen, SRTW is in some kind of demin minidress and looks like Applalachia Lil' Abner barbie (thanks Michael Kors!). In the bottom three are Marisa, Emily, and Marcel (rock bottom). The top three are Carlos and Sam (tied for second place) and Cliff (the winner!).

The guest judge for the elimination challenge is Steven Bogarelli, the Executive Chef for TGIFridays and by the looks of it, Duff Goldman's cousin. The challenge is to take a dish that would appeal to the TGIFriday's guest. Chef Bogarelli says that they want a grownup version of a childhood favorite. He makes it very clear he wants an entree. Said entree would be an item on the Friday's menu. Betty is particularly happy since she feels she specialty is California comfort food. BTW if anyone ever goes to Palo Alto, please go to the Good Earth, an organic diner with some of the best iced tea around. THAT'S California comfort food. Another part of the challenge is that they wil lbe serving their dishes to fireman at a firehouse. Josie irritates m a bit more by saying she's friends with firemen and they are the unsung American heroes. Umm, did you watch the Septemeber 11 coverage. Firefighters certianly got their richly deserved share of recognition. Mike is singled out as someone who used to work at Friday's. Does this make him a threat? Hah. Marcel is worried about the challenge. Mike is making a steak sandwich and proclaims that he's related to a firefighter. That shit is so annoying. I love firefighters as much as the next guy but talking aobut how you know firefighters is as poseur as wearing FDNY t-shirts.

Emily scoffs at the challenge, saying that shes worked in the best restaurant of whatever town she's lived in. Whatever Emily. While Friday's certainly is a trough, why not embrace the challenge and make a high class, gourmet, comfort food dish. Zuni Cafe in San Francisco does an incredible roast chicken. Colorado Kitchen (with one of the pickiest chefs in town) makes donuts. So zip it Emily and show your mettle. At checkout, Mike decides to forgo two cheeses he bought for the dish in favor of buying beer FOR HIS OWN CONSUMPTION. Yep, he's a threat that Michael. Sam tries to persuade him otherwise.

Back at the Kenmore kitchen, much F1. Cliff makes macaroni and cheese and fish sticks. Chef Tom does his sniff and sneer. Betty does some major flirting with Chef Tom, asking him to taste her dish. Chef Tom says he can taste it but can't comment. Betty says that she will see his reaction by his eyes and then stares directly at him. Chef Tom responds by tasting the dish with him eyes closed. Frank is making an Alice in Wonderland mushroom salad, complete with button mushrooms on top of cucumber stalks. Chef Tom wonders if this is a flashback or a childhood memory. Sam is making a savory fruit salad. Marisa mystifyingly makes a fruit crisp. Um, entree? Marisa is the victim of the mysterious temperature lowering ovens that did Lee Ann in on the erotic dessert challenge. Marcel is doing pork chops, mashed potatoes, and onion rings. Betty is irritated by Marcel's attitude about comfort food and him placing it below fine dining.

The chefs take their food to the fire dept. The firemen come in and meet chef Tom who is wearing a leopard print shirt over a white undershirt. Gail goes along with the generally trashy attire that all the judges are wearing with an ensemble of a sliptank top over jeans. I don't know about you, but there's always something man hungry about Gail. Her makeup and clothes always seem to have that garish, Joisey girl air of wanting to get attention. SRTW is still wearing her Appalachia Lil' Abner Barbie outfit.

First up with Michael and his messily presentated steak sandwich and onion rings. The firemen and judges uniformly hate it. One fireman says the dish is like it's presentation, provoking Chef Tom to say "very sloppy." Marcel is next and realizes that the deep fat fryer temperature is lower than he wanted. Betty is irritated about his bitching want wants him to just cook. Elia tries to help him. Betty is increasingly pissed off. Marcel forgoes the onion rings. The judges and fireman like the entree. When Marcel reenters the holding area, he bitches some more about his bad luck. This causes Betty to unload on him. She says "anything to F%^* you up is fair." Marcel and Betty go at it while Sam is trying to get his dish done. Betty cuts Marcel off by saying that they can finish the conversation when Sam is done. THe negative energy doesn't hurt Sam a bit. They all love it and one of the firemen offers to get SRTW a straw for her to suck up more vinagrette.

Dear lord Emily is whining about her lack of experience with such simple food. Cliff helps her serve. It doesn't go over well. The main critique is that it's too salty. Gail says she can't keep Emily's food down. Frank plates his salad and it looks like a hot mess, on acid. Gail snarks that she feels like she's in smurfland. On an unrelated note, I always wonder how much play smurfette got being the only girl in a village full of guys. Ilan gives a great story about how his father would grill corn after he grilled bacon which inspired the bacon roasted corn dish. We get a quick mmm... Cliff comes with his fish sticks and mac 'n cheese. Quick shots of approval from the eaters. Josie, who seems stuck in the middle of the pack, makes grilled skewers with toast and tomato salsa. In quick sucession comes Elia's fish tacos, Carlos'chicken fried shrimp, and Mia's meatloaf and fries. Marisa's crisp gets kudos all around. Then we come to Betty and a bit of karma. Like Marcel and the deep fat fryer, Betty finds her griddle not hot enough to make her grilled cheese sandwiches. In a complete lack of class, Marcel taunts Betty DURING her cooking. Cliff breaks it up and Betty plates her dish by the skin of her teeth. Elia seems to work her prior professional relationship with Marcel to tell him she has his back. Nothing is done to follow up on this. We'll see if it affects anything in the future.

Betty does irritate the hell out of me with all of her stupid names for her dishes - a bada bing betty with spicy red pepper soup and sassy bacon. Did Rachael Ray make that up? In spite of the stupid names it gets raves from the firemen and judges.

The judges F2. Chef Friday complains that there wasn't enough innovation. He singles out Sam's dish as being craveable. Gail goes into maneater mode by flirting that she loves the term craveable. She's craving something and it isn't food. Chef Friday also singles out Betty's dish and Ilan's corn as craveable but Ilan's wasn't an entree. The judges call Betty, Sam, and Cliff as the top three. Ironically, for all of his bitching about innovation, Chef Friday announces that Betty's safe grilled cheese and soup wins. Betty is really delighted. Marcel, not so much.

Emily, Michael and Frank are called in. Frank tries to defend his dish as conceptual. Gail responds by saying that food is for eating. Chef Friday pointso ut that you need to be able execute a dish consistently, and that Frank's dish wouldn't lend itself to that. The judges wonder whether Emily tasted her dish. Gail unloads that Emily's dish was inedible. Miek frat boys that he's ready to take what the judges are willing to dish out. Chef Friday wonder why he thought his dish would help Friday's stand out from the competition. More F2 from the judges. In the end, Emily and her nastiness are sent off.


Anonymous said...

Love your blog and the weekly recaps.

Barbara (Biscuit Girl) said...

You know when I first found out Emily was from this area, I wanted to root for her but after seeing her in this episode I'm glad to see her go. There's still plenty of drama left without her too. Marcel and Mikey will keep things lively.

A(nonymous) Rambling Man said...

Hear, hear. I also like your recaps.

Now let me add a bunch of my rambling, snarky comments:
Mike: Want to know who's sabotaging you? Look in a mirror. You drunken schmuck.

3 hours doesn't seem like enough to make ice cream. Also, Alton Brown's brainwashing makes me think eggs do not = ice cream. Eggs = frozen custard.
Ilan and Marcel (especially Marcel): WTF were you thinking with those flavors?

Who wears short shorts? SRTW (if I may use that term), that's who.

Points to Carlos for his savvy marketing.
Sympathy point to Sam because he's diabetic (I have a friend and nephew who have Type I diabetes). Sam loses points for trying to use his "sexiness" to sell (but not as many as Marisa loses). Also, his ice cream flavor did sound good (no wonder it was in the top 3).
Emily loses tons of points in my eyes for her nasty additude.

"Betty does some major flirting with Chef Tom, asking him to taste her dish." What an odd strategy. Chef Tom didn't seem interested in tasting Marisa's dish and I assume it's fresher than Betty's.

Frank: Seems nice but needs to maybe calm down before he has a heart attack or aneurysm. He needs to chill out somehow - drink some herbal tea, pet a puppy, smoke a joint. Something.

Totally missed the entree stipulation. I'm glad I'm not a contestant.

Marcel: If you're such a learned scientician of gastronomical molecularology then why didn't you know the fry oil would lose heat after Mike cooked 4 huge batches of rings!? And why didn't you turn the fryer up while Mike was serving or try pan frying your rings or something instead of bitching about it?! I must (grudgingly) admit that his chop looked good. I'm not sure I like the meat on the lake of mashed potatoes plating though - it seems impractical to me.

"Betty cuts Marcel off by saying that they can finish the conversation when Sam is done." Cuts him off like 10 minutes into Sam's time. But like you said - it doesn't faze Sam (which is why I think he could win it all).

"One of the firemen offers to get SRTW a straw for her to suck up more vinagrette." Gee. I wonder why you and the fireman are mentioning Padma and sucking in the same sentence?

I enjoyed the hubristic moment of Emily Lagasse yelling "Bam!" when she finished then going out and everyone hated her dish.

"Elia's fish tacos" Let's not go there...

What a surprise - they actually like one of Marisa's desserts! So she's like 1 for 6 or whatever. If she's this bad at cooking / baking no wonder she has to use her "sexuality" to keep her job.

Betty: Ain't karma a bitch? Marcel: I did have a little sympathy for the devil (you), but that's gone now. Re Cliff: He just keeps gaining points in my eyes - for this and for his ice cream. I like him and I think he has the skill to win it all. Go Cliff! Of course I like fish so I could have been swayed by his dish.

"Elia seems to work her prior professional relationship with Marcel to tell him she has his back." Way to have his back Elia. You do a great job standing there meekly saying nothing while everyone rips into Marcel. Stand by your Marcel. But I still think Elia looks cute - with her glasses off and her hair down (and yes, I do live in Illinois and not all that far from Peoria).

"[Gail]'s craving something and it isn't food." How odd - it's not food yet she still wants to put it in her mouth. It seems strange to me that Gail would be man hungry. Is she single because she's on the road a lot or what? I think I'd date her (but she probably wouldn't date me...).

"In the end, Emily and her nastiness are sent off." And there was much rejoicing.

PS I apologize for the massiveness of my comment. Maybe I should have just posted this somewhere and linked to it.